The hair-raising truth about the Cornish tsunami triggered by under-sea earthquake

UPDATED: 10:23 EST, 17 February 2012

Calm as a mill pond: The normally steady waters around St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall, were hit by the unexpected mini-tsunami

This week, parts of the Cornish coastline were hit by what appears to have been a mini-tsunami. The wave was of no great height, but it was still substantial enough to suck the sea out for 150 feet or more, before surging back in to drench the causeway linking St Michael’s Mount to the mainland near Penzance, and giving tourists a soaking.

The wave rolled up the estuaries and rivers from Mounts Bay in the West to Plymouth in the east, sending small boats rolling on their keels.

If that isn’t strange enough, witnesses said it was preceded by a surge of static electricity. ‘People’s hair stood on end,’ said a National Trust guide on the Mount.

Others reported the air going unnaturally still, with a dense, warm clamminess settling over land and sea before the wave struck.

Of course, the Cornish tsunami on Monday morning was tiny compared to the one that devastated Japan earlier this year. But the reports raise a tantalising question; might we have found one of the great holy grails of seismology — a reliable way of predicting earthquakes which could save thousands of lives?

Experts suggest that the Cornish tsunami was caused by either a small earthquake or an undersea landslide off the Irish coast 250 miles away.

One theory is that the resulting rock vibrations could generate a powerful electrical charge, strong enough to travel all the way along the seabed to land, up the beach, and reach the top of a tourist’s head.

‘It’s called the Piezoelectric Effect,’ says Chris Shepherd of the Institute of Physics, explaining that quartz crystals, present in the ancient rocks in and around Cornwall, could generate a high voltage if squeezed. ‘It’s the same effect used in gas lighters on your cooker.’

Intriguingly, something similar but far more dramatic seems to have taken place several days before the Japanese earthquake.

After studying data sent by satellites over the Pacific Ocean, NASA scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland have discovered that there was a sudden and dramatic pulse of heat high in the atmosphere over the epicentre of the quake 72 hours before it struck.

The heat pulse was associated with an equally dramatic increase in electrical charge in the air. Similar effects were reported, retrospectively, before the Haiti earthquake in 2007.

Just what was happening is something of a mystery. A persistent conspiracy theory doing the rounds on the internet links recent big earthquakes and secret radio experiments allegedly being carried out by the Pentagon.

Far more likely, however, is a little-understood phenomenon called the ‘Lithosphere-Atmosphere-Ionosphere Coupling mechanism’.

The theory is that in the days before an earthquake, the great stresses that have built up cause the release of large amounts of radioactive radon gas from deep in the Earth.

The radioactivity from this gas ionises the air on a large scale, electrifying it and heating it up. So could something like this, on a smaller scale, have explained the weird phenomena seen in Cornwall this week?

Perhaps what we saw was a combination of the piezoelectric effect and the release of radon gas — large quantities of which are present in Cornish rocks.

It is still very much a mystery. Dr Simon Boxall, an oceanographer who was out at sea on a small boat off the coast of Falmouth when the tsunami struck, thinks the wave had nothing to do with an earthquake at all, but instead was something called a ‘seiche’.

‘I’m 99 per cent certain,’ he says, pointing out that seismographs of the British Geological Survey did not seem to have detected any earth-shaking at all before the wave struck.

A seiche is a freak wave which can be caused by an area of very low or high pressure crossing an area of water.

If the speed at which the weather system is moving is just right, the sea underneath can ‘resonate’ like a wine glass ringing when you rub the rim in the right way, and a single big wave can come seemingly from nowhere.

‘The static had nothing directly to do with the wave, but it did have a lot to do with the low-pressure system,’ Dr Boxall insists, adding that southern England was hit by a number of powerful thunderstorms later that day.

‘The air would have been charged with static.’

Whatever the explanation, we may be getting tantalisingly close to finding a way to predict earthquakes — something dismissed as a pseudoscience until very recently.

For centuries there have been reports of lightning, static and even fireballs in the sky associated with earthquakes together with, of course, persistent reports that animals are able to sense that something is about to happen and flee to higher ground.

These reports are now being taken more seriously.

More than a third of a million people perished in the Indian Ocean tsunami, and 25,000 more in Japan this year.

If satellites — or even the hairs on the back of your neck — could be used to predict disasters like these hours or even days ahead, millions of lives could be saved in years to come.

The hair-raising truth about the Cornish tsunami triggered by under-sea earthquake | Mail Online.



SATURDAY, 28 JANUARY 2012 09:17

Mr. Khalilov, what is the nature of the unusual very low-pitched sounds reported by a great number of people in different parts of the planet since the summer of 2011?

Many call them “The Sound of the Apocalypse”. Information about that comes from all over the world: US, UK, Costa Rica, Russia, Czech Republic, Australia, etc.

We have analyzed records of these sounds and found that most of their spectrum lies within the infrasound range, i.e. is not audible to humans. What people hear is only a small fraction of the actual power of these sounds. They are low-frequency acoustic emissions in the range between 20 and 100 Hz modulated by ultra-low infrasonic waves from 0.1 to 15 Hz. In geophysics, they are called acoustic-gravity waves; they are formed in the upper atmosphere, at the atmosphere-ionosphere boundary in particular. There can be quite a lot of causes why those waves are generated: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, storms, tsunamis, etc. However, the scale of the observed humming sound in terms of both the area covered and its power far exceeds those that can be generated by the above-mentioned phenomena.

In that case, what could be causing this humming in the sky?

In our opinion, the source of such powerful and immense manifestation of acoustic-gravity waves must be very large-scale energy processes. These processes include powerful solar flares and huge energy flows generated by them, rushing towards Earth’s surface and destabilizing the magnetosphere, ionosphere and upper atmosphere. Thus, the effects of powerful solar flares: the impact of shock waves in the solar wind, streams of corpuscles and bursts of electromagnetic radiation are the main causes of generation of acoustic-gravitation waves following increased solar activity.

Given the surge in solar activity as manifested itself in the higher number and energy of solar flares since mid-2011, we can assume that there is a high probability of impact of the substantial increase in solar activity on the generation of the unusual humming coming from the sky. It should be pointed out that solar activity began to rise sharply since early 2011, with its amplitude significantly higher than all forecasts given by a number of influential scientific institutions in 2010 and 2011. Meanwhile, the observed increase in solar activity is fully consistent with the forecast of the International Committee GEOCHANGE published in the Committee’s Report in June 2010. If this growth rate of solar activity continues, its amplitude by the end of 2012 will be higher than the amplitude of 23rd solar cycle, and in 2013-2014 the solar activity will reach its peak the amplitude of which was predicted by us to be 1.5 – 1.7 times higher than the amplitude of the 23rd cycle.

But you said that the cause of the “sky hum” can lie within Earth’s core as well, what does it mean?

There is one more possible cause of these sounds and it may lie at the Earth’s core. The fact is that the acceleration of the drift of the Earth’s north magnetic pole which increased more than fivefold between 1998 and 2003 and is at the same level today points to intensification of energy processes in the Earth’s core, since it is processes in the inner and outer core that form the Earth’s geomagnetic field. Meanwhile, as we have already reported, on November 15, 2011 all ATROPATENA geophysical stations which record three-dimensional variations of the Earth’s gravitational field almost simultaneously registered a powerful gravitational impulse. The stations are deployed in Istanbul, Kiev, Baku, Islamabad and Yogyakarta, with the first and last one being separated by a distance of about 10,000 km. Such a phenomenon is only possible if the source of this emanation is at the Earth’s core level. That huge energy release from the Earth’s core at the end of the last year was some kind of a start signal indicating the transition of the Earth’s internal energy into a new active phase.

Intensification of the energy processes in the Earth’s core can modulate the geomagnetic field which, through a chain of physical processes at the ionosphere – atmosphere boundary level, generates acoustic-gravity waves the audible range of which has been heard by people in the form of a frightening low-frequency sound in different parts of our planet.

In both cases, even though the causes of acoustic-gravity waves are of a quite understandable geophysical nature, they are indicative of the expected significant increase in solar activity and the geodynamic activity of our planet. There is no doubt that processes in the core rule the internal energy of our planet, therefore, we should expect by the end of 2012 a sharp rise in strong earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and extreme weather events with peak levels in 2013 – 2014.


Biggest solar storm in years bombards Earth

Published: 24 January, 2012, 15:19
Edited: 24 January, 2012, 19:59

This August 1, 2010 handout image courtesy of NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) shows a view of the Sun. (AFP Photo / HO / NASA)

The largest solar radiation outburst in six years has reached Earth, having hit our planet with high-energy atomic particles at around 2 pm GMT, scientists say, threatening possible malfunction of communication satellites and power grids.

The major impact occured in the North Pole area.

The polar zones have very little protection against outbursts of solar radiation due to the structure of Earth’s magnetic field. Many airliners have been avoiding northern polar routes as the proton storm may disrupt high frequency radio communications, NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center physicist Doug Biesecker told Gizmodo in an interview.

High precision GPS equipment can also be affected by solar radiation. Civilians however will hardly notice any positioning errors.

The functioning of the ISS has not be affected. Taking into consideration the prognosis for the solar storm, the ISS crew has not even had to take additional radiation security measures.

Meanwhile, the Northern Lights have lit up the skies above Scotland, northern England, and Ireland, which is a rarity for the relatively southern region. The light may be visible for a few more days according to the director of the Aurora section of the British Astronomical Association, Ken Kennedy.

Massive ejections of plasma, or coronal mass, from the Sun have often resulted in communication and other satellites, as well as ground communications facilities failing. They can cause magnetic storms but bring no evident harm to the health of the planet’s population.

The first solar storm this year was registered on January 19 by NASA’s extra-magnetospheric satellites at the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory SOHO, Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory STEREO, and Advanced Composition Explorer ACE. Occurring after two storm-free months, that storm was ranked a relatively weak grade 5.

The solar tempest of today is very different. The last time a storm of such force happened was five years ago, in May 2005.

“For 24-25 January, we expect a magnetic storm that with a high probability can be attributed to a powerful class,” says the head of Russia’s Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation Sergey Gaydash.

Gaydash says the new solar outburst was accompanied by a so-called ‘protonic event’ – a sharp increase in a high-energy proton stream with speeds of up to 4 million kilometers per hour. Dangerous levels of 10-50 MeV (megaelectronvolt) protons have already been exceeded, while the levels of 100 MeV protons – the most dangerous for satellites and electronic equipment – has not passed the critical threshold so far.

via Biggest solar storm in years bombards Earth — RT.